Hostage Posed for This Photo With Hijacker

Officials say Egyptian man is 'an idiot, not a terrorist'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2016 3:30 AM CDT
EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eldin Mustafa flashes the victory sign as he leaves court after a hearing in the Cypriot coastal town of Larnaca on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
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(Newser) – What to do when you're being held hostage on an aircraft by somebody who appears to be wearing a suicide vest? For Ben Innes of Leeds, England, it was time for a selfie—with the hijacker. The 26-year-old, who was one of the last hostages left on the plane after hijacker Seif Eldin Mustafa forced the EgyptAir Alexandria-to-Cairo flight to land in Cyprus, tells the Sun that "I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing to lose anyway, so [I] took a chance to get a closer look at it. I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him. He just shrugged OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever."

Innes' relieved mother tells the Telegraph that she takes issue with the description of the photo as a "selfie," since Ben didn't take it himself. Mustafa, whose explosives belt turned out to be a fake made from phone cases, appeared in court in Cyprus on Wednesday and was remanded in custody for eight days, the BBC reports. Authorities describe the 59-year-old as a "psychologically unstable person" who made assorted incoherent demands, the AP reports. Egypt's ambassador to Cyprus says the incident stemmed from a "family feud," probably involving Mustafa's ex-wife, who lives in Cyprus and was brought to the airport at his request. "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot," another foreign ministry official says. "Terrorists are crazy, but they aren't stupid. This guy is." (Read more plane hijacking stories.)

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